SARS kills cat program

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2003:

SINGAPORE–SARS seems to have killed the Singapore Stray Cat
Rehabilitation Scheme.
Sponsored by the Agrifood & Veterinary Authority, the Stray
Cat Rehabilitation Scheme has sterilized more than 3,000 homeless
cats since 1998, but a four-month review of the project determined
that barely 10,000 of the estimated 70,000 to 80,000 homeless cats in
Singapore have been sterilized, between public and private efforts.
AVA chief Ngiam Tong Tau said on October 8 that “All but one
of the 16 town councils [in Singapore] wanted the scheme stopped,
and the holdout was halfhearted in support,” wrote Sharmilpal Kaur
of the Straits Times.
“The program was reappraised in the wake of fear that cats
might spread SARS,” Kaur continued. “Though tests found no such
link, culling was stepped up because of a push to clean up public

Instead of sterilizing cats, Ngiam Tong Tau said, the AVA would
kill any cats turned in, without charge.
“He said that people who feed strays responsibly and clean up
after them will be left alone,” Kaur added, “but those who leave a
mess can be charged with littering.”
Cat Welfare Society operations director Dawn Kua argued that
the Stray Cat Rehabilitation Scheme has been successful, since
Singapore killed only 10,000 cats in 2002, down from a 10-year
average of 13,000.
The Cat Welfare Society is trying to raise $1 million to
build its own sterilization clinic.

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